PhantomJS Runners for Mocha
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PhantomJS Runners for Mocha

Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript test framework running on node and the browser. Along with the Chai assertion library they make an impressive combo. PhantomJS is a headless WebKit with a JavaScript/CoffeeScript API. It has fast and native support for various web standards like DOM handling, CSS selectors, JSON, Canvas, and SVG.

The mocha-phantomjs project provides a script file and extensions to drive PhantomJS while testing your HTML pages with Mocha from the console. The preferred usage is to install mocha-phantomjs via node's packaged modules and use the mocha-phantomjs binary wrapper. Tested with Mocha 1.12.x, Chai 1.7.x, and PhantomJS 1.9.1.

  • Since version 3.0 of mocha-phantomjs, you must use PhantomJS 1.9.1 or higher.

Build Status

Key Features

Standard Out

Finally, process.stdout.write, done right. Mocha is primarily written for node, hence it relies on writing to standard out without trailing newline characters. This behavior is critical for reporters like the dot reporter. We make up for PhantomJS's lack of stream support by both customizing console.log and creating a process.stdout.write function to the current PhantomJS process. This technique combined with a handful of fancy ANSI cursor movement codes allows PhantomJS to support Mocha's diverse reporter options.

Exit Codes

Proper exit status codes from PhantomJS using Mocha's failures count. So in standard UNIX fashion, a 0 code means success. This means you can use mocha-phantomjs on your CI server of choice.

Mixed Mode Runs

You can use your existing Mocha HTML file reporters side by side with mocha-phantomjs. This gives you the option to run your tests both in a browser or with PhantomJS. Since mocha-phantomjs needs to control when the run() command is sent to the mocha object, we accomplish this by setting the mochaPhantomJS on the window object to true. Below, in the usage section, is an example of a HTML structure that can be used both by opening the file in your browser or choice or using mocha-phantomjs.


We distribute mocha-phantomjs as an npm that is easy to install. Once done, you will have a mocha-phantomjs binary. See the next usage section for docs or use the -h flag.

We have an undeclared dependency on PhantomJS. This allows you to choose to install PhantomJS via the node package manager (npm), or to use system PhantomJS downloaded and installed from the PhantomJS website. We have heard reports that Windows users have better results with the official PhantomJS download vs the npm.

If you would like to use PhantomJS installed from npm:

$ npm install -g mocha-phantomjs phantomjs

Otherwise, once you have downloaded and installed PhantomJS yourself:

$ npm install -g mocha-phantomjs

If you don't install phantomjs using either of these approaches, you will get an unhelpful ENOENT error when you try to run mocha-phantomjs.


Usage: mocha-phantomjs [options] page


   -h, --help                   output usage information
   -V, --version                output the version number
   -R, --reporter <name>        specify the reporter to use
   -t, --timeout <timeout>      specify the test startup timeout to use
   -A, --agent <userAgent>      specify the user agent to use
   -c, --cookies <Object>       phantomjs cookie object
   -h, --header <name>=<value>  specify custom header
   -s, --setting <key>=<value>  specify phantomjs WebPage settings
   -v, --view <width>x<height>  specify phantomjs viewport size
   -C, --no-color               disable color escape codes
   -p, --path <path>            path to PhantomJS binary


   $ mocha-phantomjs -R dot /test/file.html
   $ mocha-phantomjs
   $ mocha-phantomjs -s localToRemoteUrlAccessEnabled=true -s webSecurityEnabled=false
   $ mocha-phantomjs -p ~/bin/phantomjs /test/file.html

Now as an node package, using mocha-phantomjs has never been easier. The page argument can be either a local or fully qualified path or a http or file URL. See the list of reporters below for acceptable options to the --reporter argument. See phantomjs WebPage settings for options that may be supplied to the --setting argument.

Your HTML file's structure should look something like this. The reporter set below to html is only needed for viewing the HTML page in your browser. The script overrides that reporter value. The conditional run at the bottom allows the mixed mode feature described above.

    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="mocha.css" />
    <div id="mocha"></div>
    <script src="mocha.js"></script>
    <script src="chai.js"></script>
      expect = chai.expect;
    <script src="test/mycode.js"></script>
      if (window.mochaPhantomJS) {; }
      else {; }

Supported Reporters

Mocha-phantomjs does not scrap the web page under test! No other PhantomJS driver stacks up to our runner support. Some have used a debounce method to keep duplicate messages in the spec reporter from showing up twice. Loosing one of Mocha's console reporters neatest features, initial test start feedback. The animation below is an example of how our runner script fully compiles with expected Mocha behavior.

Slow Tests Example

The following is a list of tested reporters. Since moving PhantomJS 1.9.1, most core Mocha reporters should "just work" since we now support stdout properly. If you have an issue with a reporter, open a github issue and let me know.

Spec Reporter (default)

The default reporter. You can force it using spec for the reporter argument.

Spec Reporter

Dot Matrix Reporter

Use dot for the reporter argument.

Dot Matrix Reporter

The PhantomJS process has no way of knowing anything about your console window's width. So we default the width to 75 columns. But if you pass down the COLUMNS environment variable, it will pick that up and adjust to your current terminal width. For example, using the $COLUMNS variable like so.

env COLUMNS=$COLUMNS phantomjs URL dot

TAP Reporter

Use tap for the reporter argument.

TAP Reporter

Min Reporter

Use min for the reporter argument.

Min Reporter

List Reporter

Use list for the reporter argument.

List Reporter

Doc Reporter

Use doc for the reporter argument.

Doc Reporter

TeamCity Reporter

Use teamcity for the reporter argument.

$ mocha-phantomjs -R teamcity test/passing.html
##teamcity[testSuiteStarted name='mocha.suite']
##teamcity[testStarted name='Tests Passing passes 1']
##teamcity[testFinished name='Tests Passing passes 1' duration='0']
##teamcity[testStarted name='Tests Passing passes 2']
##teamcity[testFinished name='Tests Passing passes 2' duration='0']
##teamcity[testStarted name='Tests Passing passes 3']
##teamcity[testFinished name='Tests Passing passes 3' duration='0']
##teamcity[testIgnored name='Tests Passing skips 1' message='pending']
##teamcity[testFinished name='Tests Passing skips 1' duration='undefined']
##teamcity[testIgnored name='Tests Passing skips 2' message='pending']
##teamcity[testFinished name='Tests Passing skips 2' duration='undefined']
##teamcity[testIgnored name='Tests Passing skips 3' message='pending']
##teamcity[testFinished name='Tests Passing skips 3' duration='undefined']
##teamcity[testSuiteFinished name='mocha.suite' duration='133']

JSON Reporter

Use json for the reporter argument.

$ mocha-phantomjs -R json test/passing.html
  "stats": {
    "suites": 1,
    "tests": 6,
    "passes": 3,
    "pending": 3,
    "failures": 0,

JSONCov Reporter

Use json-cov for the reporter argument. I have not tested these as they require the node-jscoverage tool to be used.

$ mocha-phantomjs -r json-cov test/passing.html
  "instrumentation": "node-jscoverage",
  "sloc": 0,
  "hits": 0,
  "misses": 0,
  "coverage": 0,
  "files": [],
  "stats": {
    "suites": 1,
    "tests": 6,
    "passes": 3,
    "pending": 3,

HTMLCov Reporter

Use html-cov for the reporter argument. I have not tested these as they require the node-jscoverage tool to be used.

XUnit Reporter

Use xunit for the reporter argument.

<testsuite name="Mocha Tests" tests="18" failures="6" errors="6" skip="6" timestamp="Sun, 21 Oct 2012 17:29:59 GMT" time="0.36">
<testcase classname="Tests Mixed" name="passes 1" time="0"/>
<testcase classname="Tests Mixed" name="passes 2" time="0.001"/>
<testcase classname="Tests Mixed" name="passes 3" time="0"/>


Simple! Just clone the repo, then run npm install and the various node development dependencies will install to the node_modules directory of the project. If you have not done so, it is typically a good idea to add /node_modules/.bin to your $PATH so these modules bins are used. Now run cake test to start off the test suite.

We also use Travis CI to run our tests too. The current build status:

Build Status


  • Create a mocha-phantomjs bin file for use in Node.js and publish a NPM.



Released under the MIT license. Copyright (c) 2012 Ken Collins.